Mayo Clinic Health System will offer flu vaccines across its Southeast Minnesota locations to patients six months and older starting Monday, Sept. 28.

Now more than ever, Mayo Clinic and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend all people 6 months and older get flu vaccinations to protect themselves and others from getting the flu.

Like COVID-19, influenza is a virus that causes respiratory illness, and symptoms can range from mild to severe or life-threatening in children and adults. However, the two illnesses are not the same, and the CDC website outlines the differences. The CDC recommends providers use any licensed, age-appropriate flu vaccine during the 2020–2021 season.

When to get a flu vaccine

All patients should obtain their flu vaccines by the end of November to be protected during the region’s peak months of flu activity, December through January.

After vaccination, it takes about two weeks to develop antibodies to protect against the flu, which is why early fall vaccination is recommended. If you are sick, stay home from work or school to prevent spreading illness to others.

Patients who have tested positive for COVID-19, have respiratory symptoms, or are under quarantine should delay flu vaccination until they are no longer ill or their quarantine period is over.

Scheduling an appointment for a flu vaccine

Appointments are required for flu vaccination; there will be no walk-in flu vaccine clinics in Southeast Minnesota this year. Self-scheduling flu vaccine appointments online through Patient Online Services or the Mayo Clinic App is recommended. These convenient self-service options also prevent wait times on the phone and preserve resources for COVID-19. Alternatively, patients can call their local clinic to schedule an appointment for a flu vaccine. In addition, flu vaccines will be offered to all patients at existing appointments at Mayo Clinic Health System locations.

To self-schedule for patients between 6 months and 12 years of age, a parent or guardian will need to schedule this appointment using caregiver access to the child’s Patient Online Services account. Patients ages 13–17 will need to have their own Patient Online Services accounts to directly schedule flu vaccination appointments. When making an appointment, note that children 6 months through age 8 need two flu vaccines if it is the child’s first seasonal flu vaccination. The second vaccine is given at least four weeks from the date of the first.

Locations for flu vaccines

Patients who schedule an appointment for a flu vaccine in Albert Lea, Austin, Owatonna or Red Wing will be directed to the following locations to receive their flu vaccine:

  • Albert Lea: Health Reach, 1705 SE Broadway Ave (507-668-2121)
  • Austin: AMC West, 101 14th Street NW (507-509-0741)
  • Owatonna: Southview Building, 134 Southview Street (507-414-7027)

Patients who schedule an appointment for a flu vaccine in Adams, Cannon Falls, Ellsworth, Faribault, Lake City, Lake Mills, New Richland, Plainview, Wells or Zumbrota will receive their flu vaccine at the Mayo Clinic Health System clinic.

The cost of seasonal flu vaccine is covered by many insurance plans. Mayo Clinic Health System will bill insurance or accept payment.

For additional information on the flu, visit the Mayo Clinic Health System website.